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Russell Kirk

Russell Kirk
Russell Kirk (1918-1994) was the author of some thirty-two books, hundreds of periodical essays, and many short stories. Both Time and Newsweek have described him as one of America’s leading thinkers, and The New York Times acknowledged the scale of his influence when in 1998 it wrote that Dr. Kirk’s 1953 book The Conservative Mind “gave American conservatives an identity and a genealogy and catalyzed the postwar movement.” Dr. Kirk's other books include The Roots of American Order, Prospects for Conservatives, Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered, The Sword of Imagination, and Enemies of the Permanent Things.
0 260

The sorriest aspect of the twentieth century has been the rallying of the intellectuals to the arrogant banner of nationalism, which rejects universal and eternal truth for the sake of national and passing advantage... Thirty years ago,...

As the rising generation is left ignorant of our civilization’s dogmas—or is encouraged to discard them—strange new dogmas rush in to fill the spiritual vacuum... All societies, in all times, have lived by dogmas. When...
0 641

Do we descend steadily, and now somewhat speedily, toward a colossal architecture of unparalleled dreariness, and a colossal state of unparalleled uniformity? Will all of us labor under a profound depression of spirits because of the boring and servile architecture about us? And will the society now...
0 435

It is possible to bankrupt a nation’s treasury by extravagant expenditure upon alleged “education.” Worse still, it is possible to bankrupt a nation’s culture in the name of schooling... School Needs in the Decade Ahead by Roger A. Freeman (Institute for Social Science,...
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For years after his honorable discharge in 1946, Russell Kirk suffered a recurrent nightmare, to the effect that his discharge had been a clerical error; that he was summoned back to Dugway Valley; and there, beside his grim safe, stuffed with deadly secret documents, he would labor...
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The Framers had no intention of making their chief executive officer a Caesar, on the model of Augustus. Nor does any eminent politician or publicist nowadays advocate openly such concentration of power in the executive... May a...

Is it not refined cruelty to keep alive, in self-loathing, a man who is a grave danger to the innocent and a grisly horror to himself? And to do such a thing in countries long admired for the justice of their laws?...
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It is not by the love of money or the love of earthly power that men and women are moved to publish a serious journal of ideas. Rather, they are animated by their love of right reason...

The principal difficulty of mankind today is the decay of the moral imagination in our civilization... In the spring of 1989, videographer Ken Martinek and I made the trip to Piety Hill to interview Russell about the moral imagination (as first conceived by Edmund Burke...
0 1946

At best, what the typical college has offered its students, in recent decades, has been defecated rationality. By that term I mean a narrow rationalism or logicalism, purged of theology, moral philosophy, symbol and allegory, tradition, reverence, and the wisdom of our ancestors. This defecated rationality is...
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The university is not a center for the display of adolescent tempers, nor yet a fulcrum for turning society upside down. It is simply this: a place for the cultivation of right reason and moral imagination... Already...
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A reformed history must be imaginative and humane; like poetry, like the great novel, it must be personal rather than abstract, ethical rather than ideological. Like the poet, the historian must understand that devotion to truth is not identical with the cult of facts...
0 1457

Edmund Burke’s principle of order is an anticipatory refutation of utilitarianism, positivism, and pragmatism, an affirmation of that reverential view of society which may be traced through Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca, the Roman jurisconsults, the Schoolmen, Richard Hooker, and lesser thinkers. It is this; but it is more...

Abraham Lincoln never was a doctrinaire; he rose from very low estate to very high estate, and he knew the savagery which lies so close beneath the skin of man, and he knew that most men are good only out of obedience to routine and convention...